Docklands progress update February 2016

On a sunny summer's day I decided to jump on my bike and cycle down to Docklands to compile a visual essay of the construction progress and future developments occurring down at the docks. As the lead image accompanying this article illustrates, development is creeping ever closer to the Bolte Bridge with possibly a decade's worth of construction remaining for the area before it is considered 'complete'.

Beyond this however, the area will no doubt continue to evolve just as the rest of Melbourne has over the last 150+ years. Docklands has copped a lot of criticism and it still has some way to go but I really enjoyed cycling down there and walking around watching the people down there go about there everyday business as you would anywhere else.


NewQuay currently has four towers under construction within two separate developments by MAB and Hiap Hoe. Hiap Hoe's 43-storey Marina Tower will deliver 461 dwellings in addition to a Four Points by Sheraton hotel with 261 rooms and is being built by Probuild. MAB's Aqui and Promenade are further progressed with Hickory the head contractor delivering the silver and bronze towers.

Under Construction: Marina Tower and NewQuay Promenade

Four Towers of varying height make up NewQuay Central

Future: Banksia and Elm & Stone

Sales for MAB's Banksia development - which will occupy the former Waterfront City Plaza and includes a new park - have been strong with the project due to begin construction this year. The McBride Charles Ryan designed tower will complete the NewQuay Central component of NewQuay. A further residential development by DKO called Elm & Stone is due to be launched soon. This will be followed by another residential project along Docklands Drive designed by Six Degrees.

Banksia and Elm & Stone

Digital Harbour

Following a succession of low-rise commercial and soho buildings, development at Digital Harbour has largely dried up with construction of The Altus being delayed for nearly two years. With sub contractors signing on to the project we may eventually see some activity on the site in 2016.

The site of 1000 La Trobe Street (also known as the Millennium Site) exchanged hands recently with Digital Harbour Holdings selling the site with a Woods Bagot designed residential scheme to China Poly Group. The new owners are seeking to develop in excess of 600 units on the site. This is a far cry from the early vision for the site as a hub of innovation.

Future: The Altus and 1000 La Trobe Street

The Altus and 1000 La Trobe Street

Victoria Harbour

Lend Lease's Victoria Harbour is racing ahead with Concavo completed late last year and 888 Collins Street topping out. Meanwhile the four tower development at 839-889 Collins Street is at various stages of construction with one podium well underway and the second just out of the ground. All up these developments will inject over 1,500 apartments into the area.

Under Construction: 888 Collins Street and 839-889 Collins Street

Victoria Harbour is booming.

Future: 909 Collins Street and Y3

Beyond the current scope of works Lend Lease has plans for further developments at Victoria Harbour with the 909 Collins Street Apartment building and a hotel and commercial development on the Y3 site that was to see a 21-storey office tower designed by DCM. A wharf-style low-rise residential development rumoured to be built out of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) will occupy the western end of Victoria Harbour's peninsula.

909 Collins Street and Y3 Hotel and Commercial development

Stadium Precinct

With Capital Alliance's Peppers Hotel effectively completing the north-east corner of the Stadium precinct, there now remain only two undeveloped sites; 685 and 695 La Trobe Street. The former was sold with a permit for a commercial development but will now see dual residential towers by Peddle Thorp, while the latter gained approval last year for a 27-storey Fender Katsalidis scheme comprising 383 dwellings.

Future: 685 and 695 La Trobe Street

685 and 695 La Trobe Street

Batmans Hill

The largest development currently underway within Batmans Hill is Walker Corp's Collins Square project. With three buildings already completed thus far a further three are at various stages of construction. The tallest of these - which will eventually accommodate KPMG's offices - topped out late last year and it's distinctive faceted 'lantern' is now visible from all over the city.

The Link Market building is not far behind with the core now level with the neighbouring ATO building. The fifth tower has also begun its skyward ascent and when complete will boast a curved sloping form with a sweeping 'cut' through it.

Under Construction: Collins Square

Collins Square currently boasts three buildings under construction

Future: Melbourne Quarter

Set to begin just as Collins Square begins to wind down is Lend Lease's Melbourne Quarter mixed-use development. The project is split into a Collins Street neighbourhood of 4 commercial buildings and a Flinders Street neighbourhood of 3 residential buildings surrounding new open spaces atop a deck spanning over Wurundjeri Way.

Melbourne Quarter. Image courtesy Lend Lease

Yarra's Edge

Mirvac's Yarra's Edge development is the furthest progressed towards the Bolte Bridge with the Wharf's Entrance component of the project providing the western bookend to the project. Forge apartments and the Wharf's Entrance Wharf and Cargo residences are currently under construction with work progressing on the tower proper and the first rows of glazing being installed on the facade. The 30-storey tower will eventually accommodate 229 apartments.

Under Construction: Wharf's Entrance and Forge

Forge Apartments by Mirvac.

Future: Voyager and Tower 11 and Tower 8

The 43-storey bronze tower comprising 316 apartments would be the tallest tower at Yarra's Edge and the 9th overall if approved. A 10th west of Voyager will be the last in procession however and 11th tower known as Tower 8 will be the final residential tower for Mirvac at Yarra's Edge and is rumoured to be the tallest at around 50-storeys.

Voyager Wharf's Entrance. Image courtesy of Mirvac

Harbour Town

Ashe Morgan's Harbour Town refurbishment program is well underway with the ETFE canopy by the Buchan Group nearly complete. A Hoyts eight screen cinema is also on the cards for the centre.

Under Construction: Harbour Town

Harbour Town rejuvenation works.

Future: 26-38 Pearl River Road and Marriot Docklands

A dual tower development comprising a 29 and 19-storey towers in addition to a 37-storey Marriot hotel at 3-43 Waterfront Way to be delivered by Capital Alliance with architecture by DKO.

Capital Alliance's Harbour Town towers.

North Wharf

Developer Riverlee is proposing a $250 million-plus waterfront residential and retail development for North Wharf. Designed by Fender Katsalidis, the development will also involve refurbishment of the historic wharf and goods shed at the western end of the precinct.

So that's the round up for Docklands. I'll be updating the Docklands component of my Melbourne 3D model in the coming weeks.



Bilby's picture

A lot of the development activity from North Wharf to the Bolte has now put the north bank permanently in shadow. Adding to this are the wind effects form the tall podiums right up against the river. The elevated section along the ANZ building is now very cold for most of the year, which isn't helped by the material choices for the decking (concrete and folded steel) - is there a chance we could ever see a lower timber wharf structure along here, closer to water level? On the whole the result is not great in terms of making the public space along the river attractive to occupy - it seems developers are intent on compounding Docklands' issue with almost every new build that happens.

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Brixton's picture

Drastic improvement over at Docklands over the past decade. What was an area which invoked only disappointment, we currently have an interesting precinct which is generally pleasant to visit and spend time in.
The Sunday street market and buskers along New Quaypromenade finally brings a touch of life and sense of community.

You now have the feeling that once the remaining empty lots are finally developed, and the population increases by the forecast ~10,000, Docklands may live up to the potential we were promised back in the late 90s.Still a fair way to go, but when you consider the area is still only roughly half complete, it's hard to be disappointed given the progress that's occurred in recent years.

As for the North bank being overshadowed... There is 1.6 km of northern or western facing foreshore within 80 - 470 meters of the north bank. The entire New Quay promenade offers nearly another kilometer, and despite being cast in shadow from bordering towers much of the time, somehow manages to provide a pleasant walking experience.
Plenty of timber along the promenades I've mentioned.

Completely agree there is room for improvement, but if you are miserable and negative enough you can find things to complain about any project past, present or future (how's the solar access and storage space in the Victorian terrace cottages you adore so much Bilby?).
When all one has to complain about is the supposed temperature impact of an office tower in an office precinct, and the use of concrete in wharf contruction, you'd have to say we're doing ok.

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shky's picture

great article! Its nice to see some development at the Docklands area. Will there be improvements on the Docklands public transport? More trams or a train station?

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